Each month for the past six months, HTC has recorded a double-digit decline in revenues relative to 2014. For a company that wasn't making all that much money in the first place, and whose most notable achievement in recent times has been to stabilize and break even last year, 2015 has been nothing short of a disaster. It is within this dire context of deflated momentum and negative growth that HTC has now decided to stop issuing forward guidance as part of its earnings reports.
Reporting revenue of $657 million for the third quarter of this year, down from nearly $1.3 billion the previous year, HTC declined to advise investors and financial reporters about its expectations for the fourth quarter. It has noted the launch of the new One A9 handset, which it hopes will revive sales in the most lucrative holiday season. But there are no projections about the expected impact of that device, or indeed, about the rest of HTC's lineup.
According to the plans laid out at Mobile World Congress at the start of this year, HTC should by now have had a fully realized family of diversified devices that goes well beyond the smartphone. The HTC Grip fitness wearable, designed in partnership with Under Armour, was supposed to be on sale in the spring. The HTC Vive virtual reality headset, built to be the vanguard of Valve's Steam VR efforts, was aimed at this year's holiday season but won't be commercially available until next. And the Re Camera — which was supposed to be just the first in a whole series of cross-platform Re connected devices — has just been put on a deeply discounted sale at $50.
There's simply no silver lining or cause for optimism with this story. A company that's been struggling since 2012 has had just about its worst six-month period ever, both in terms of sales performance and strategic execution. When there's nothing good to say about the future, you might as well say nothing at all.
Update 3:32PM ET, 30 October 2015: HTC has provided the following statement:
"Given the dynamic stage of HTC’s business, in the context of Taiwan regulations it has become increasingly difficult to provide a line-by-line forecast for the P&L. Therefore, we have decided not to provide financial forecasts going forward. However, we can provide guidance at this time that we expect incremental increase in revenues and net income in Q4 over Q3.”
Verge Video: HTC One A9 review